When will the special session adjourn? Puzzle pieces not yet in place

HELENA — It was unclear Wednesday night when Montana’s special legislative session would end.

At 8 p.m., several pieces of the puzzle to raise the money needed to wrap up the session remained up in the air.

One is Senate Bill 4, by Sen. Ed Buttrey, R-Great Falls, to charge the workers’ compensation State Fund a temporary management fee for investing money with the state Board of Investments. That would raise $30 million over two years.

The House rejected the bill 49-51 Wednesday, but later voted 65-35 to reconsider it.

The House Appropriations Committee also has a hearing scheduled on HB 6, by Rep. Nancy Ballance, R-Hamilton, to transfer at least $75 million in funds from various programs to help meet the state’s $227 million general fund deficit.

Some legislators were confident that the special session would adjourn later Wednesday night, while others were less optimistic as the night wore on.

Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock’s office had no immediate comment on whether the bills still in play were acceptable.

Bullock called the session to address the general fund budget and revenue deficit.  State tax collections are coming in far less than projected by the Legislature earlier this year.

In addition, the state wildfire suppression fund was drained after the costliest firefighting season in state history.